Saturday, January 10, 2009

Anti-Israeli graffiti attack to be probed

An article in today's Evening Post about a protest which Undercurrents filmed 2 nights ago. Sure to create a debate.

Friday, January 09, 2009, 17:58

SCORES of billboards across Swansea have been vandalised with anti-Israeli graffiti.
A leading Jewish group in the city has expressed sadness at the act.
Police say they plan to study footage of the act on YouTube to identify a masked assailant who compares Israel to Nazi Germany.
But the film maker who shot footage of the protest taking place insists he cannot help cops with their inquiries.
Paul O'Connor, who captured the footage for independent city film firm Undercurrents, said: "I have no idea who the person who put the graffiti over the billboards was, and anyway, I never reveal my sources."
Most of the graffiti has been sprayed over Swansea's new SA1 Development.

In Undercurrents's short, Graffiti in Wales for Gaza, an unidentified woman is seen donning a red jump suit, which has a Palestinian flag attached to the back.
On the film she says: "What I've done is put Israel equals Swastika sign with a lot of question marks — I wanted to be provocative.

"I believe the Palestinians are the victims of victims." A second, and more visible slogan reads — Stop Israel, Save Gaza.
Swansea-based Norma Glass, who is on the board of deputies for British Jews, said she was not offended by the graffiti.

However, she said: "I find it terribly saddening.
"I hope the Jewish people in the area will not respond in a similar way."

Mrs Glass added people were entitled to free speech, but felt widespread criticism of Israeli air strikes in Palestine was unfair.

"I feel truly sorry for the lives being lost in Palestine," she added. "Hamas are a terrorist organisation living among the general population.

"Israel keeps a lot of its facilities in underground creches and hospitals, which is why there has been low casualties on our side."
But film maker Mr O'Connor, who previously shot footage in Palestine for the BBC, said he was amazed at the courage of the protester for taking direction.

"The aim of the film was to provoke thought in people. It asks the question 'is Israel becoming a fascist state?" he said.

"I was quite amazed at the person who wrote the graffiti's actions as they risked arrest for doing this — possibly jail.

"I think that in an age of a consumer society where people are passive and told to keep shopping, it is refreshing to see someone who cares so much about a cause."

Police confirmed the billboards were going to be replaced.
A spokesman said: "An agreement has been made with the owners of the billboards to have them removed and replaced.
"Obviously we are going to review the footage on YouTube."
Police added they would be keeping a close eye on local synagogues over the coming days to make sure they were not vandalised.
A spokesman added: "We are keeping an eye on the situation and remain in close contact with the Jewish community in Swansea."
Link to the Evening post and comments

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